`Big Momma's' bloated, but OK

Movie review

June 02, 2000|By Knight Ridder/Tribune

Would it surprise you to learn that "Big Momma's House" is nothing more than an excuse to get Martin Lawrence in a funny costume?

In this film, he plays a federal agent trying to catch a bank robber whose girlfriend (Nia Long) is holed up at Big Momma's pad. So when the real Big Momma takes off, Lawrence straps on a gut, a wig and enough sandbags to shore up a flood-threatened town and takes her place.

Fortunately, seeing Lawrence in Momma's one-size-fits-Shamu muumuus is automatically funny. Lawrence's eyes, staring balefully out of Momma's jowly, rubber face are hilarious, but they're more than that -- they're a little sad and a little wounded. And whether that's Lawrence's natural expression, or his perception that this script is not worthy of his talents, they make for enough amusing moments to keep the movie lively.

Long is also impressive and real, although this role doesn't make use of her talents as effectively as, say, "The Best Man" did.

And, speaking of "The Best Man," Long's co-star from that film, the enormously talented Terrence Howard, is wasted as "Big Momma's" dullard villain.

It's a treat to see Long, Howard and Lawrence under any circumstances, but I sure hope the next circumstance is a better one.

`Big Momma's House'

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Nia Long, Terrence Howard and Paul Giametti

Directed by: Raja Gosnell

Rated: PG-13, but almost R (Sex, adult language, violence.)

Released by: 20th Century Fox/Regency Enterprises

Running time: 105 minutes

Sun score: ** 1/2

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